NeuroKitchen Artistic Director
Performance Ensemble Director
NeuroKitchen Managing Director
Curiosity Club Director
Ron Bieganski has been a teacher and director for over 35 years which includes being Artistic Director at Free Street (1995-2011), Steppenwolf Theatre’s Education Director (1995-97, instructor in Steppenwolf Theatre's Professional Training Program(1995-1997) and guest instructor at UNLV, DePaul University, Columbia College, and NYU.
Ron has developed theater training that is recognized for its ability to instill acting skills as participants learn about their deeper selves. He is most proud of his student’s creative energy and how they have transferred that ability into wherever their lives have taken them.
Since 1986, Ron has instructed art teachers and theater students in 10 countries and 20 universities. He has been a driving force for changes in youth art work such as non-autobiographical, non-victim art, serious training instead of drop-in, experimental work with youth in form/language and long-term workshops over short term experiences.
Ron has facilitated over 55 non-autobiographical performances with youth (12-19 years olds), which toured to over 60 European festivals, had 3 shows produced at Steppenwolf Theatre and 4 performances picked as “Best of Year” in Chicago theater.
The bravest, most self-actualized student event Ron has ever seen was the founding of the NeuroKitchen Arts in 2011. I live each day in awe of the bravery of those founders.
Anita Evans has over twenty years experience creating, teaching, and administrating arts education programs for youth. Anita served many roles at Free Street Theater from 1995-2011 including Creative Director and Interim Managing Director. Responsibilities included: financial oversight, audit preparation, preparing payroll taxes, grant writing and reporting, marketing, website design, database management, photo and video documentation, mentoring teens and graduate students, leading and assisting in creative workshops.
Anita assistant directed/stage managed teen theater ensembles including international tours to Germany, Austria, Poland, Netherlands, Norway, and Thailand.
A performance she directed/facilitated with a teen ensemble about Abraham Lincoln was recognized in the Chicago Reader’s Best of 2010. In 2011, she created and continues to teach the Curiosity Club, art and science workshops for elementary age kids.
Anita is a Certified Yoga Teacher who completed her 200-hour training at Moksha Yoga. She is also a photographer and videographer. Her photographs have been in various publications including the New York Times, Time Out Chicago, and American Theatre Magazine. She has created video projections to accompany over 20 productions, including cued super-title translations for international tours. In addition, Anita serves on the planning committee for DirectorsLabChicago.
NeuroKitchen Musical Director
Stone (a.k.a. Winston Damon) is possibly best known for his “world music” one-man-band which he expanded to the full band “ULeLe!”, receiving critical acclaim since their debut in 1995.
Stone has also performed and recorded with Liz Carroll, Billy Corgan, The Drovers, Sonia Dada, Sugar Blue, Tiny Tim and Nicholas Tremulis to name a few. His commissions for dance include
the Chicago Moving Co., The Chicago Repertory
Dance Ensemble, Thodos Dance Chicago, Bob Eisen, Hedwig Dances, Trinity Irish Dance co.,
and Eddy Ocampo and his choreography has been seen with Jellyeye Drum Ensemble, Lucky Plush Productions, The Sock Monkeys, and Cheng Da Percussion Ensemble. He has toured internationally as a featured artist and appeared in the New Line Cinema feature film "Blink" as himself.
Stone is currently recording solo, and with his band ULeLe, and serves as Musical Director and board member for NeuroKitchen Arts Collective, an inter-disciplinary, cross-demographic performance group founded in 2011.
Marya Cormier President
Tamiz Haiderali Treasurer
Roceial Leonard Secretary
Anna Marie Long
Chicago Public Schools Special Education, Parent of 2 former ensemble members
Township Bar and Restaurant
Founding ensemble member
Founding ensemble member
One Luv NFP, Parent of 3 former ensemble members
Ron Bieganski, 51
Ron Bieganski has been at teacher and director for over 35 years which includes being Artistic Director at Free Street (1995-2011) and Steppenwolf Theatre’s Education Director (1994-96) and instructor in Steppenwolf's Professional training program (1995-97). He has developed theater training recognized for its ability to instill acting skills as participants learn about their deeper selves. He is most proud of his student’s creative energy and how they have transferred that self-actualized ability into wherever their lives have taken them.
Marya Cormier, 41
Supporter of all things strong, stellar and passionate. I believe my best gift to such an amazing group of people is my ability to brainstorm and keep spirits going. My morphings so far... artist, graphic designer, photographer, teacher, mother.
River Damon, 15
I’m here because I love how much I’ve changed over the year that I was at Free Street with Ron, because of the ideas and the things he taught me. I’m also here because I want to be part of something this great, and I feel like Ron should be famous for what he does. I also love how comfortable I can be here.
Jermaine Edwards, 18
The reason I’m here helping the growth of this company is because I believe in change. I believe that we really can make a difference in the world and if we put our hearts to it we really can make the world as we wish it to be. Our purpose is not to only exist in the world, but to go above and beyond and try to do remarkable things that’ll leave an impact on somebody
Dani Davis, 20
Learning to Fly
Ola Faleti, 18
I’m here to continue a life-changing process of eating bagels and grilled cheese sandwiches with people I care about, and learning about myself and the world.
Stanta'sha Howard, 20
I’m here because I can’t imagine being any where else. This thing that we have as a group is more than family. It makes me feel invincible. I want learn how to harbor my artistic talents productively. I love theater and I’ve known I wanted to be an actress since I was three. The young artists of Chicago can benefit from this program. It shows them that they can be something great.
Meah Jenkins, 14
I am here to build new skills and work with people I actually feel comfortable around. I am here because of many reasons, but the main one is because I want to work with a group of artists.
Gabrielle Mangione, 16
I’m not here for any reason in particular, but the main reasons are because I want to be with my family here and to grow as a person and as an artist. I really could not imagine my life not being here anymore, I just had to continue my experience. It was vital to my growth as a person. I have learned so much about myself and about life in general. I feel complete here; whatever that my be in the end.
Sergio Q. Pedrote, 16
The main reason I joined this group is to become the best actor I can be and be in a safe environment to express the way I feel about just about anything and hey what isn't family if you can't open up to people so my mind can be able to grow.
Miata Ramos, 17
I am here because I love my art, and this is a place where I can express my love for it. Here is a place where you can find an open space of trust, acceptance, and no judgement. I enjoy nothing more than being myself, and being comfortable, and this is a place were I can do that simultaneously.
Amber Smith, 19
I'm here because of the values we all share and to create something great. I have the opportunity to be a part of something great, to be written down in history, and I'm going to seize the opportunity.
Arissé Stephens, 16
I am here to create something new and beautiful. I am here to start a new beginning out of a wrongful ending. I am here because I understand the value of a community I am from- Chicago. I have been in theater for 11 years. Nothing is more important to me than art and creativity.
Sofia Conner, 13
I'm here because I want to be with everyone. Cuz I love them and I'll learn more in a unique way. This is the only program I've really really participated in and loved. HALLELU!!!!!
Chance Damon, 14
I've been working with Ron for 2 years. I’m still working with him because I believe his artistic direction is the base of all creativity. I’m actually very thankful to be a founder of this ensemble because I love the experience. I love all the other founders. I've loved acting and art all my life. My dad (Stone Damon, musical director of the ensemble) has been an artist/musician for a lot of his life and I am thankful for him.
Stone Damon, 45
(pizzaiolo) I met Ron in the subway (80's)… both street performers. He asked me to come by and check out his theater group… maybe help with music. My experience with him, as an artist/teacher/collaborator… I am aloud to go to my personal edge… I am aloud to fall down… I will be caught… I’m aloud to look into darkness… I am aloud to be wrong… I’m aloud to find myself.
Anita Evans, 41
For over 15 years I have supported and helped to develop a process with Ron Bieganski which teaches acting and writing skills in a way that opens people up to being more awake and alive onstage and off. I continue to be inspired and energized by the ensemble's collective intelligence, creativity, and passion.
Sophia de Oliveira, 19
I am here now, and this is the only moment that matters.
Shamerria Howard, 18
I am here because this is an amazing journey and I want to follow it. Through all of the things that I have achieved in life, I feel like none have been greater than this. This is my choice and what I want to do.
Dorothy Jaworska, 26
I have been involved in Ron and Anita’s artistic process as a youth for 3 years. It has helped me become self aware, and sparked a passion for film which I’ve been pursuing for the last 7 years. I know that we can cook up something unbelievable in this lab. I hope that whoever joins in this experience will ignite in themselves a never ending passion, and unlock their true potential like I did.
Roceial Leonard (X), 22
Having an active art life is very important to me. There is nothing going on in my life right now and theater keeps depression away.
Antar Morrar, 25
I can best be described as well rounded with passions ranging from building computers and digital media, to the arts, politics and organic gardening. I believe the principles taught by Ron and Anita are currently propping up the entire structure of the cosmos, and should this ancient knowledge be lost, vast #’s of innocents will have to be sacrificed to the angry, vengeful God of your choosing.
Michael Phillips, 14
I am here to be an artist. I’m here to learn processes that can benefit me in everyday life. I am here to learn to be the best person I can be.
Selene Rodriguez, 13
I am here because being here makes me feel complete knowing I am with people I consider family. Being here I can also express myself in ways I never have, and know I will not be judged because it’s alright to be who I am.
Parker Smith, 12
I am here because what we do and become is brilliant. I feel safe and open. Its making people into the best they can become. And i feel that I want to be apart of something great like this.
Stephany Stovall, 24
I developed a passion for the art at a very young age and over the years my passion has grown stronger. Nurtured by Ron Bieganski at Free Street Theater in 2001, I grew to become what is known as a virtuoso performer. Ever willing to give back, I decided to devote my time and attention to the birth of a new organization. I am proud to be part of this organized body.